Mormons, Native Americans, and the Indian Placement Program
From 1947 to 2000, the LDS Church ran the “Indian Student Placement Program.” It took 50,000 native children from reservations and placed them in Mormon homes. This effort to educate and convert them came naturally out of Mormon theology, which taught that Native Americans were descended from a lost tribe of Israel and were cursed for their wickedness. Wednesday, we’re talking about the program and what it reveals about Mormonism’s complicated relationship with Native Americans.
- Matthew Garrett is a Professor of History at Bakersfield College in California, and the author of Making Lamanites: Mormons, Native Americans, and the Indian Student Placement Program, 1947-2000. [Indie bookstores|Amazon]
- Elise Boxer is an Assistant Professor of History and coordinator of Native American Studies at the University of South Dakota. Her article The Lamanites Shall Blossom as the Rose: The Indian Placement Program, Mormon Whiteness, and Indigenous Identity appeared in the October 2015 issue of Journal of Mormon History.
Resources from the LDS Church:
- Visit the Church's gospel topics page Book of Mormon and DNA Studies.
- Watch the Church's short film Spencer W. Kimball: An Apostle to the Lamanites.